Friday, October 31, 2008
And their pet panda.
Yes. You read that right.
Their larger than life pet panda. He was built like a brick shithouse: think Jonah Lomu, double him in size, chop off his legs, imagine concrete has a high nutritional value and understand that is his food of choice, add some razor sharp long ninja-like claws, now cover him in black and white fur and you'll start to get the picture.
Needless to say I was a little dubious about this panda. Especially as I needed to get past him to get a book to read to one of the boys, and he also had his eye on one of the books.
'Don't worry about him, he's harmless,' assured Father-of-four-boys-five-and-under.
But I knew otherwise, I knew that that panda had the ability to turn me into sashimi or gently squash me to death and get out of it by it by claiming he was only giving me a bear hug.
And then the dream ended.
I text the short version of the dream to the Mother-of-four-boys-five-and-under.
'Were we having a nice holiday?' She text back.
'You were having a lovely old time. But I wouldn't trust that bear as far as I could kick the fucker.' I replied.
Last night I was around the Family-of-four-boys-five-and-under and Mother-of said to me, 'Oh my god, you have no idea what the five year old came home with.'
She said he came home from school yesterday, 'Mummy, Mummy - look what I did today!'
Yup, you guessed right.
It was a picture of that panda bear.
And the five year old hadn't heard about my dream.
That bear is messing with my head.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Her grandfather has also been separately charged with assaulting and injuring Nia.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The story goes that my grandfather, as a small boy, once instructed a poor soul in their household who didn't have a clue what to do with a fresh catch of them, that she had to gut them and prick their eyes out with a needle.
I am not sure how many she got through before being rescued by my great grandmother.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Having said that, I am vaguely concerned how we (literal translation: I) are going to alight from one of those vessels onto a chaseboat mid-sail - without coming a huge cropper.
All I can say is the fact that we weren't blessed with hindsight is possibly a good thing, right now.
I interviewed the guy nearly ten years ago, when he was an emerging artist.
'And can I just get the correct spelling of your name?'
'As in, just the one?'
'And Money. M-O-N-E-Y.'
'Great, think I can cope with that.'
If anyone would like any pointers or lessons in How to be Seriously Uncool, feel free to ask.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I do think this is the only place that when, on being offered more crayfish, I have said, 'Please go away, because if I eat anymore I think I am going to vomit.'
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
'You're looking well.' He says.
What do you say to that? He could have meant it or it could have just as easily be a euphemism for 'Jeez you're looking a bit rough, love.'
I say this because I brightly said, 'So are you!' (Which was a euphemism for 'Where has all your hair gone?)
This is the guy who, in our first year at varsity, attempted to drive his scooter by standing on the seat (I wouldn't recommend you try that at home). Needless to say the scooter won that competition by a country mile and my mate woke up in hospital possessed by a grumpy old Scotsman.
For an entire week.
Fortunately the Mr Scottish Grumpy eventually left the building, and my friend has no recollection of him ever being there, or how he became possessed but it was certainly one of the more bizarre weeks.
Anyway, our conversation today was kind of littered with pregnant pauses as neither of us wanted to be ruthless enough to say, 'Okay nice to see you and we both know we don't need to organise to catch up, cause in our heart of hearts we know we don't have much to talk about.'
Except he is more polite than me and he said, 'I should get your number so we don't just keep on bumping into each other in cafes.'
I wrote it down for him, handed it over and we went our separate ways.
Ten bucks says he threw it in the bin after he got back to work.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I went over and was staring at the page and I saw words like, 'can get passport' and 'foreign money' and my initial thought that he was on a site for fake passports and counterfeit money (he is an arms dealer, after all).
After a moment the words stopped colliding into each other and started to make sense.
It was his invitation to his work conference.
Jammie and bastard.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
It got me thinking that gravy was the cuisine equivalent to curiosity. But a little research reveals that it's not that underrated, a guy called Dave Axworthy from Nova Scotia legally changed his forename to Gravy because he was infatuated with the stuff. And in Australia you can get yourself some gravy flavoured chips. (I remain a little dubious about those).
If you want the one of the best gravys in the world, make this roast. It's Richard Till's recipe. And oh my that gravy is sensational, the onions, oh the onions. You could throw away the meat and just drink the gravy.
1 leg of hogget.
3 lg onions
½ bottle of red wine, plus some more for gravy.
Salt and pepper
Flour for gravy
This is important! Slice onions into thin crescents. Slices from top to bottom rather than across into half rings. The onions break down, sweeten and brown much more easily when cut this way.
Make a bed of onions in the roasting pan.
Season onions with 1 ½ tsp salt.
Place leg on onions.
Tip over ½ a bottle of red wine.
Cover and seal tightly with foil.
Put into 160 C for 5 hours.
Loosen the foil in a corner, to allow steam to escape, for the last hour.
Take meat from pan, cover and rest in warm place.
Carefully tip of excess fat, but leave some in the pan to brown the flour in.
Put on an element and add flour (about 4 Tbl)
Cook, stirring and taking great care that nothing starts to burn in the pan, for a minute, until the flour is cooked, then add water and a cup of red wine.
Simmer, check seasoning, tip into gravy boat and lick pan.
Meat will cut with a blunt spoon.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Mr Dentist discovered I had a hole that needed to be filled.
So I went back this morning, endured all sorts of discomfort, had my mouth filled with weapons of mass destruction in order to have said hole filled.
If you're trying schedule a really horrible day it would start, 8.30 a.m. Dentist appointment. 9.30 Important meeting that you haven't prepared for. 11 a.m. Meeting with the accountant. And your day would slowly disintergrate from there.
But the thing that gets me is that I had to pay the equivalent of a decent pair of shoes for the priviledge of all this dental horribleness.
How does that work ?
Shouldn't dentists being paying us?
Sunday, October 05, 2008
I know that curiosity killed the cat - but have you heard of the come back line to that proverb?
Satisfaction brought it back. ( I am not sure if the cat is still dead at this stage, or not.)
Now, my fruitcake mother is a very cool lady. My brother, sister and I lucked in. All my friends throughout my life rate her as do my brother's and sister's friends. One friend of mine went and stayed with my parents when he started his first job as a lawyer, he was going to stay for a week and left three months later (and later repaid the favour by shouting me a return flight London to Chicago! Result! All I did was lend out my parents). And today all of our friends will go and visit our parents when we aren't there. All her nieces and nephews think she is a rock star, as do her grandchildren.
My mother often shows me up as the slack friend that I actually am, recently one of my oldest friends had a terrible time and ended up spending about four weeks in hospital. We live in different islands, so she got regular phone calls from me - but got regular letters from my mother.
Letters? Remember what they were?
Anyway, I was thinking what it is that makes her so cool. She is: kind, thoughtful, naughty, funny, she doesn't judge, she is wise, she can be delightfully insane, she is self deprecating, she knows so much about the world, she doesn't impose her views and opinions on others and will respect an opposite argument even though she doesn't agree with it, but when I really think about what makes our mother so unique is that she is incredibly curious.
She is so curious about the world and the ways people live. She is interested in the people she meets and fascinated as to why they are the way they are. It's not a judge thing, it's an understanding thing. 'So why do you think like that? What is your story? Oh, you look interesting, tell me your back story.' This is the woman who would rather get a bus than a taxi so she can look at all the people. Honestly, park the woman up at an international airport in the arrivals lounge and she would be so excited about what she was seeing, she would forget to eat.
That's why I wasn't surprised when she told me that she was attending a series of university lectures for the 'third age'.
'What, university for old bastards?'
'Yes darling, and there are some that are about hundred and three. They're the ones who sit up the front and ask all the questions.'
Bloody mature students, no matter what age they are, they always sit up that front and make the slackers down the back look bad.
I asked her what exactly were these lectures she was attending.
'Ohh' she said, her voice full of anticipation and delight, 'I've never understood the Middle Eastern situation and its history so I'm going to a series of lectures about it from various different perspectives: religious, political,geo social....' And then she started saying words I didn't understand and I stopped listening.
'So once you've done these will you be able to tell me if there will ever be peace in the Middle East?'
'From the way it's going I think we will be holding hands across an electric fence hoping no one will turn the current on. That's not an entirely accurate analogy but it means I don't know what will happen and I don't think they do, either. What I do know is that it's going to be fascinating - if I can remember what any of the lecturers say. That's going to be the interesting thing.'
I do like the way her brain works.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Can't imagine they have changed much, since.
Somehow (the loss of human life and all, aside) pyramids and colosseums seem so much cooler than sky scrapers.